Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thirudan Police, Comic Revenge

Long long ago (for that matter even now), most of the actors and directors, when they gave interviews as pre-launch publicity, would claim that their film was "different". Just that I have grown up not to believe them.

So when I say that this film is different, please do trust me and, at the same time, don't trust me! Well let me explain it.

The movie is a simple revenge story. Father gets killed and son avenges death by bringing the perpetrators to book. Where this movie differs is in the treatment of the subject. It's different! Just like Yaamirukka Bayamey which very beautifully mixed comedy with horror, Thirudan Police makes you laugh even while the hero is feeling for the death of his father and is extracting the revenge. There is no dilution of either emotion.

The movie is thoroughly enjoyable. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Borgman, What the Hell?

When I stumbled upon Borgman, while searching for movies to watch, I was excited. The poster looked very intriguing. And I also found out that it was selected for the 86th Oscars for Best Foreign Film category. Naturally, my expectations were very high.

As I watched the movie, I hoped the movie will unfold. I watched every scene with huge expectations. I was hoping something will happen. A lot does take place. Often, murders. Maybe I should say massacre. Then the movie ended.

And the moral of the story is...

Well, often movies have a moral. They are, most of the time, quite evident. But Borgman left me wondering about it.

Not that I did not understand it because I didn't know Dutch. There were subtitles to help me out. In fact, there is hardly anything complicated in the movie. The movie is about a vagrant who enters an affluent household and wrecks havoc. But what it was trying to convey seemed like a mystery. I am certain a movie cannot get selected for Oscars for no reason.

Then I did something that no film reviewer should ever do. I dread talking about it and if I was a professional critic whose life depended on writing reviews, my career would be finished. I went searching on the net to actually understand what the movie was all about.

The movie is supposed to be a depiction of Satan. The vagrant being the Satan. And the family, the vulnerable human beings who are prone to jealousy, greed, lust, racism...How Satan destroys such human beings. Pretty Godly affair, I say.

Now it is about three weeks since I watched the movie. And almost everyday I have thought about the movie. I think I understand the movie better now, though it still feels mysterious. Nothing spectacular but yet haunting. Haunting you with an urge to understand it more. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Her, Love Recently

It is an interesting movie, funny and entertaining! It is quite beautiful to watch, too! But it did disturb me. You see as human beings, we are always worried how our future is going to be. There are many movies which have envisioned it for us. Often, they are in the sci-fi genre. Though I enjoy them, it is difficult to relate to them.

But on the other hand, Her seems more realistic. Though it does seem to be in future, maybe a near one, the movie to me seemed more like a statement on the present. I know Bicentennial Man has a similar story line and is equally touching but somehow Her felt more real.

Her is love story between a man and his computer's operating system! But then the operating system is not a simple operating system either. It is based on artificial intelligence. It keeps learning and become more human-like. And eventually ends up more evolved than its creators, the human beings. Once I settled to the thought and accepted the voice as a person, the movie made me smile, feel a bit of pain and, at times, angry.

As I said the movie, in my opinion, is not set in future. It is the state of affairs in our lives, today. We are glued to our laptop or tablet or mobile phones. Though our devices are still not like "Her", we do spend more time with it than other human beings. Our every emotion, today, is connected with these devices. We are more occupied with it than spending time with either others or with our own self.

I loved watching the movie. If you have watched it, let me know what you thought. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding Fanny, Deep Cleavage

Oops, sorry! This post is not about the movie. It is a cheap trick that I am employing to get some traffic to my post. This post is my open letter to Deepika Padukone and The Times of India. The two have been washing dirty linen in public for the last few days.

Here it goes.

Dear Deepika and Dear The Times of India,

I am hoping you both will read this letter. No, I don't expect you to sit face-to-face and go through it together. Not after what your childish spat has done. It has created a huge cleavage not only between the two of you, but I have also almost lost a good friend in a discussion about your behaviors. But you see intelligently I moved the conversation from social media to more private messaging platform. Not that the two of us would have achieved anything by fighting in public. Unlike you guys to whom publicity matters, we would have ended up making ourselves look bad. More like the women in slums fight over the handpump. Though, of course, social media is the forum where creme-de-la-creme of the society, the educated and sophisticated do fight like those lively women. To avoid any confrontation with the feminist kinds, you can also consider the drunkards' fight inside a TASMAC bar (the bars attached to liquor shops in Tamil Nadu).

I have not been able to understand what you guys are fighting about.

Deepika, are you upset that they clicked your cleavage or are you upset with the photo caption? See if it is first one, let me assure you that your cleavage-ous photos are available with my dear friend Google. In fact, (s)he has "nice" pictures of you and your sisterhood. Google also has six, eight, and family packs (the last one, I have) of guys. Google doesn't discriminate.

But I understand you are more upset with the caption. Only if the paper had just published the photo and not put that stupid caption, you would have been ok. Right? Hmm, I am unclear how it can be dealt with. See, as far as India's leading newspaper is concerned, they have every right to publish what they want unless it invades privacy. You see, in more ways than one, film industry and newspapers are like comrades. Both are sacred cows! Cinema wants freedom to create. Media wants freedom to print. Creative license and freedom of press are the words used, I think. Just think of the pic as one of the item numbers or a double entendre from one of the movies and forget it.

See, Chennai never had ToI (I am now bit tired typing the whole name) for a very long time. We were always with The Hindu which fortunately or unfortunately had no Page 3. They have color pictures but they are never colorful, you know what I mean? The first time I saw Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle, I was shocked! Imagine the plight of an innocent naive Tamil boy (that's me) after seeing models skimpily-clad on the very first page! Well, since you are from Bangalore, you sure were fed on ToI and knew from being in the industry for considerable amount of time that ToI is known more as an entertainment newspaper.

Now, dear ToI,

Hmm not sure whether you should worry about attacks on you. You never were. After all, you are the largest media house in the country. Further, your reply to Deepika does raise some pertinent question. Not that your report was not factual but maybe a bit of grammar change would have made things easier.

Instead of the photo caption Deepika's Cleavage Show, you could have said Deepika's Cleavage Shows. See that small edition of 's' converts the show from a noun to a verb. Now that makes it more factual. I, at this point of time, would like to thank all those who made me understand the power of grammar.

Finally, we will never know if you guys are genuinely fighting or it is a mere celebrity stunt. You see after so many controversies and watching conspiracy movies, we lowly mortals don't trust anything. For all you know, you guys are together to create publicity for the movie Finding Fanny! As we all know medianet(work) helps anyone who requires publicity.

You see you don't have to actually worry about anything. Despite so much hullabaloo, I don't think your circulation or reach will decrease. In fact, it may only increase. After all, you known the pulse of the nation! And, of course, men, too!

We are sure you guys will continue to keep fighting more and not stop the action. I hope you file legal cases against each other. Try to sully each other more. See, as public we need that too. We need entertainment. How long will we see only bombs and beheading? I am fed up reading about prices of onions and tomatoes soaring so much that there is a huge cleavage between carbs and fiber in my diet! What you guys are doing is interesting and very important.

See, as they say in the PR industry, any publicity is good publicity. For you and for me.

See you then till the next cleavage. No, no, not what you guys think. Cleavage also means a sharp division; a split!

Hoping to keep myself a--breast of future developments.


PS: To avoid any controversies, I have used photos of Deepika which doesn't display any cleavage. So, there is no Cleavage Show, here! As far as Finding Fanny is concerned, I will write the review after watching the movie. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jigarthanda, fulsome

For those who do not know what Jigarthanda is, here's a little intro. Jil Jil Jigarthanda is a rich milk-based drink that owes its origins to Madurai city. It was apparently popularized by Muslim community, there. It is similar to Falooda though different!

As far as the movie goes, it is anything but similar. Unlike the drink, the movie is not sweet. A little, maybe. But it is certainly rich. It is more similar to the dishes that are served in the legendary messes of Madurai - hot, spicy and rich. Meat served with loads of blood.

The story is about a young movie director being asked to make a gangster movie. In search of an original and true script, he lands in Madurai to find out more about the subject - Assault Sethu. On a side note, Madurai needs some serious PR as its image as a city of goons, rowdies and murders now precedes its otherwise historic and religious glory.

Coming back to the storyline, the young director faces many a difficulties to get acquainted to the gang leader. But when he does, the gang leader readily agrees to share his story. Trouble comes when upon rejection, young director's amour instigates Sethu to don his own role in the movie.

The movie then is about the trial and tribulations of the young director and what he does with the opportunity that is provided to him. One of the most important part in the movie is the dialogue between the young director and the old shopkeeper who also once aspired to be a film director.

The movie is again a testimony of the fresh talent that is now populating Kollywood. Karthik Subburaj has served a different fare after Pizza, which was equally delectable.

I must say that just like Simbu, I don't like Sidharth much. But should admit that he has done some good offbeat movies in the recent past. Though in my opinion he still is a limited actor but is doing well within those limits.

Bobby Simha on the other hand is very impressive. He seems to have taken his role in Neram to a very different level in this movie. He is one of the best talents in Tamil film industry, today.

So is Karunakaran. The comedian is immediately likable.

Lakshmi Menon is good. Must say that this girl proves to the world that one doesn't have to be "beautiful" to be successful in the film industry. She has chosen her movies quite intelligently.

Bottomline? Go watch! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

What's In The Name?

What was the last movie you watched?

Can you recollect the lead character's name? The hero, the heroine or the villain. Chances are, as hard as you may try, you will not be able to remember the name of the characters. 

I had never given any thought about name of the characters until I watched 12 Angry Men, a film that tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant. One of the alibis provided by the defendant is that he had been out watching a movie when the crime was committed. But when questioned, he is not able to recall the names of the characters. When this point is discussed, Henry Fonda, one of the jurors, asks other members if they remembered the names of the characters in movies they watched last. Guess what, no one is able to recall the names! 

Though it is not the absolute truth. For example, I remember Guna or Virumandi, or say Veera, Muthu or Basha. I also remember some villain's name. Gabbar Singh from Sholay or Mugambo from Mr. India. Interestingly, I am not sure if I remember Anil Kapoor or Sridevi's characters' name. But then I can never forget that Hema Malini in Sholay was Basanti. These are probably exceptions! 

But in general, why is it that the names of the characters are forgotten so easily? Are the names of the character not an important element? Why is it that some character names get etched in our memories while others don't even leave a scratch mark in our "hard drives"? Well it maybe a factor of how our nervous system is hard wired. 

Which movie characters' name do you remember? Mention it in the comments. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bobby Jasoos, Elementary!

In my opinion, Vidya Balan is the most talented actress in the Bollywood, today. To me, she is a bit like Kamal Hassan. She has done a variety of roles in the last few releases and I have some expectations of her films.

As far this film is concerned, she has managed to give a commendable performance, yet again. She is cast as an Hyderabadi Muslim girl whose ambition is to become a famous jasoos (detective). In this pursuit, she faces many a difficulties. She is rejected by a leading detective firm; her own father disapproves off her ambitions.

But as luck favors the prepared, she gets her break when a man hires her to search for few people in her locality. The movie is about how she uses innovative methods to accomplish the tasks; discoveries she makes in this process about herself and her family. The methods she employs bordering on histrionics provides comic relief in otherwise an ordinary movie!

The movie isn't bad. It is nice to watch but nothing exceptional. I felt a bit disappointed. Probably because of the expectations that had built up. Don't expect too much and you might end up liking.

It's just rudimentary entertainer! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Once More Pannaiyarum Padminiyum

Yes, I watched Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, again. And if opportunity strikes, I wouldn't mind watching it once more.

I realized how badly I wrote the last review. To say the least, my attempt to capture my thoughts about the movie was pathetic. But then maybe I was in a hurry and wanted to tell the world what a wonderful movie it was. The last post covered my attachment to a machine, one of the emotions that the movie evoked in me. What I covered very briefly, but should have actually written about, in the earlier post was the love story between the old couple - Pannaiyar and his wife Chellamal.

I must say of all the love stories that I have seen so far two movies have impressed me more than others. Interestingly, both these are about old people in love. When I say impressed, I think the success of a romantic movie to me is when I feel that I should have been the character in the movie. Or to put it differently I want that to happen in my life.

First is Cheeni Kum and, of course, the other is Pannaiyarum Padminiyum. In the first, two unmarried persons fall in love and get married at a rather old age while the latter is the love story of a married-for-long couple. Cheeni Kum is about urbane sophisticated people while Pannaiyarum Padminiyum is story of simpletons in a village. Love is omnipresent, shall we say.

Nothing to take away from Cheeni Kum, if I have to rate the two movies, I would probably end up rating Padminiyum Pannaiyarum a bit higher than R Balki's romantic comedy. Amitabh is heart throb and Tabu beautiful in Cheeni Kum, not to mention the histrionics of Paresh Rawal when he finds that his daughter has fallen for a man who is older than him, Cheeni Kum is "filmy".

On the other hand, Pannaiyarum Padminiyum celebrates reality. The life of common man, the aam aadmi. Tulasi and JP would probably remind you of your parents or an old couple that you know of in your life. There is nothing spectacular about them. In fact, there is nothing spectacular in the movie. It is just plain simple love and affection.

The way they mock each other lovingly, the support and empathy is a treat to watch. The scenes where both pannaiyar and his wife reach out to the driver separately requesting that he somehow teaches car driving is subtle but very heartwarming.  

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum starts where all other love stories usually end - the marriage. And I pray that such be life in my twilight years. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, Possession

This movie will certainly make into the Best Tamil Movies of all times list. Even if it doesn't, it will remain one of the very best that I have watched.

Is it Vijay Sethupathi who is creating such opportunities or is he leveraging them? Whatever be the case, midst the usual hero-oriented flicks, his movies guarantee that we get to watch a flick where story is the central character.

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum is a beautiful portrayal of life of people set in the "other-India". The India where people may not have access to internet and my blog. It is the story of an old Premier Padmini car, and the lives and emotions of people whose lives it touches. The movie is about our love and possessiveness. Even for inanimate objects! But mostly, it celebrates love.

It reminded me of my obsession with our first washing machine that we bought several years ago. After the installation, I sat in front of the machine for the full cycle of washing which usually lasts for an hour. I was so enamored by the rolling of the drum. I mused at detergent in an upper tray mixing with the water that came from the backside of the machine. I loved watching the tumble of  the drum, and the games that the mix of detergent and water played with the cloths. I waited for the final spinning and the machine coming to a halt. You see with automatic washing machines, one has to wait for sometime before the doors can be opened. Those few minutes of waiting felt like eternity. But that wait was worth it as the doors opened to a heady perfume of washing power in the warm misty air.

Now this went on for sometime before I lost interest and found other things to keep me amused.

In the movie though, the old car keeps bonding people and brings more love. The love story of the old couple intertwined with the car is a treat to watch.

This movie could take you into a nostalgic trip of your own. At the end of the movie, I was in tears. The tears of happiness on having watched a good movie. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kalyana Samayal Saadham, Tasty Fare

How many of you had an arranged marriage? How many of you had a love marriage? How many of you had love-cum-arranged marriage? And how many of you had arranged-cum-love marriage? Though this movie is about the last kind, anyone can relate to the movie.

Kalyana Samayal Saadham is a nice cute romantic comedy. It deals with the relatively newer trend of having an "affair" in the period between the engagement and the wedding. Basically, it is similar to what people do when they have a love affair except that here the couple have the blessings of the families. The movie also deals with the taboo subject of premarital sex. There's more, sex in married life and erectile dysfunction. In addition, the pressures of organizing a wedding, the politics and other nitty-gritties. All this served nicely as the food served in banana leaf in South Indian wedding. Not rich but sumptuous and delicious.

If you are married, you will relate to it. If you are not, take this as an easy digest.

Nice to see a big fat South Indian marriage for a change. Though it is not as fat as North Indian marriages, it has its own charm. On a different note, have you noticed that many South Indian weddings have Sangeeth and Mehendi! It is like a South Indian restaurant serving Naan and Paneer Butter Masala

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street, Self Help

Long ago, when I was employed with Twenty Twenty Media, I along with few managers attended a Time Management training program. That was my first exposure to the world of life management and personality development. Before getting into the tricks and tools to manage time better and become efficient, the trainer who was a Russian lady introduced us to the concept of different pies in the circle of life.

  1. Health 
  2. Wealth 
  3. Social 
  4. Spiritual 
  5. Family & friends 
To lead a holistic and meaningful life, one has to look at life as a sum of all the parts. One could also find these lessons in self help books such as Road Less Traveled, Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, First Things First et al. Not that I have achieved any balance, in fact far from it, but just the awareness of the pies can help bring sanity. That's for the majority of normal people.

Based on Jordan Belfort's biopic The Wolf of Wall Street it is about his spectacular rise and fall. It is the story of a man who focused only on one pie - Wealth. Jordan's life is filled with his passion for money and entertainment. The movie can give you nausea.

Is it a bad movie? No, absolutely not. There are amazing performances. Leonardo is brilliant. I loved Mathew McConaughey in his cameo appearance as "guru" who probably "shapes" Jordan's actions.

Once you have seen the movie, also read this very thought provoking article by Sudhish Kamath in The Hindu on "WHY DO our films toe the moral line?